Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Two Upcoming Buzzed About Films from Black Directors

I’ve been hearing (really reading) a lot about two upcoming films by black directors and as their release dates are vastly/fastly approaching I will present them below in order of their release date.

First up is SHAME (2011)

Left, movie poster for Shame, Right, director Steve McQueen
The film from British director and co-writer Steve McQueen, stars Michael Fassbender and Carey Mulligan. Below is the synopsis.
In New York City, Brandon's carefully cultivated private life -- which allows him to indulge his sexual addiction -- is disrupted when his sister Cissy arrives unannounced for an indefinite stay. - IMDb
The film Releases in the United States
December 2, 2011

You can see the Official Website here  and see the trailer below


Last, but not least is PARIAH (2011)

Left, movie poster for Pariah, Right director Dee Rees
 The film written and directed by Dee Rees,stars Adepero Oduye, Kim Wayans and Charles Parnell. Below is the synopsis.
A Brooklyn teenager juggles conflicting identities and risks friendship, heartbreak, and family in a desperate search for sexual expression. - IMDb
The film Releases in the United States
December 28, 2011

The film will initially open across select theaters in Los Angeles, New York and San Francisco, but will expand soon after throughout the winter."-Shadow & Act

You can see the Official Website here  and see the trailer below

February 2012
I have reviewed Pariah here

CLICK the button below to see all of our Reviews on other great black films

Related Posts
Watch the star of Pariah Adepero Oduye in a very nice short film RIGHT HERE on the blog in the post here

At our sista blog Cool Black Media a post about another film by a black director, but this one has the marketing muscle of George Lucas behind it read all about it here

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

What Does a Film Producer Do?


Ask the Filmmaker: What Does a Film Producer Do?

Written by Deborah Osment

Does anyone have any idea how many movies are made each year as opposed to how many get distribution of some kind? It has to literally be in the thousands. DVDs sit gathering dust on shelves everywhere and every single one of those DVDs is responsible for at least one person who calls themselves a producer. Usually it’s more like five or six people who have that title on that DVD.

It used to be that people would ask me what a producer is when I told them I was a film producer. Now I hear that they’re a producer, too, or their cousin is or some guy they know at work, or all three.

I don’t mean to, in any way, suggest that these people don’t have the right to call themselves by that title. What I’d like to suggest is that “producer” is a job in itself and other than a few selcet MFA programs, no one is teaching what it really is. More is required than buying a digital camera, writing a script and getting your friends and family to play along. The reason I’d like to suggest this is that there are some good ideas out there that never seem to make it from script to screen.

A producer is the person who keeps the production on track and that track should be straight to the movie screen or one of the thousands of television/cable/satellite channels anxious for product these days.

I’ve never understood, for instance, how there can be such a thing as a producer/director. Unless, of course, said person is an actual schizophrenic and capable of arguing two sides of a question at once. He or she also would have to be a person capable of squeezing 48 hours out of your average 24-hour day because both producing and directing are full-time jobs. And we’re not talking the traditional 40-hour week here. My license tag once expired during a long shoot and I put a sign in my back window that read “In production, will get my tag renewed as soon as I remember my name.” As I lived in Venice, California, at the time, I went without a ticket.

The producer is the problem-solver. You have to be able to solve any problem and to do it instantly. I once was called into the make-up trailer to find the leading lady and her make-up person in hysterics because – you ready for this? – her blusher had dropped and the powder had spilled all over the floor. This was at midnight on a night shoot and it was expensive make-up that was only available in a few exclusive stores. I, being the producer, knew that I could call Nordstrom and they would open the store and replace the blusher for me. I knew that fact and that number because I was the producer and that was my job. Don’t think about this as a run to replace makeup, think about it as a run to keep from burning money because a crew was standing around or, worse yet, getting paid for a full day (per contract) and not working at all. And, no, you cannot tell the lead actress that another blusher will do just as well.

The producer has to see problems before they happen. I was involved early on in a shoot which is just finishing up in Michigan. A period piece, part of it was set in the jungle in Vietnam and those in charge were determined to shoot that part in the Ann Arbor Arboretum. Feel free to go back and read that sentence again. I was the only one arguing against it. In fact, it is supposed to be based on a true story and the dude who had written the script insisted that the arboretum looked exactly like Vietnam. I insisted that he just wanted his movie to be made and would agree to anything. I pointed out that, even if the Ann Arbor Arboretum did look exactly like the jungles of Vietnam, there would be traffic noise, planes flying overhead, kids riding skateboards, and so on. As far as I know, I’m the only one not working on the film. They are, however, shooting part of it in Vietnam. But it came down to this for me, if they were ready to make that kind of decision before the film was even greenlit, what would they do during production? I hope they’ve made a wonderful film.

So, what is a producer? A producer is someone who has to know everything about everything. They have to be able to keep their cool when everyone else is losing theirs. The primary job of a producer, however, is to make a creative bubble in which the director, the DP, the actors and all the crew can create a film. The producer has to start working on the project before anyone else but the screenwriter and can’t stop working on it until every penny of revenue has come in and every bill has been paid.

More tales of movie-making fun to come …
Deborah Osment, is an award-winning screenwriter and producer. Her work has been screened at the Cannes Film Festival, Toronto Film Festival, Tribeca Film Festival, HBO, AFI and many other venues throughout the world.
 Check out the Filmslate website here


As Ms. Osment stated
how there can be such a thing as a producer/director. Unless, of course, said person is an actual schizophrenic and capable of arguing two sides of a question at once. He or she also would have to be a person capable of squeezing 48 hours out of your average 24-hour day because both producing and directing are full-time jobs.
YES that is true, but on the lower end budget stuff I had to produce it wasn't THAT hectic, but it is grueling at times. You have to constantly make on the spot decisions and you just say "YEAH go with that." It always helps to have a good co-producer and a good AD (Assistant Director) to help you carry out tasks, but the producer/director is the final decision maker. As she stated "A producer is someone who has to know everything about everything. They have to be able to keep their cool when everyone else is losing theirs." and that is 100% correct.

Monday, October 17, 2011

A Good Day to Be Black & Sexy - Review

A Good Day to Be Black & Sexy

Written, Produced, Edited & Directed by Dennis Dortch

Cinematography by Brian Harding

Released: December 5, 2008 (USA)


Kathryn Taylor
Brandon Valley Jones
Chonte Harris
Marcuis Harris
LaKeisha Blackwell
Mylika Davis
Allen Maldonado
Jerome Hawkins
Natalia Morris
Alisa Sherrod

As I’ve said in the past, I usually post movie (and other media) reviews at Cool Black Media. I don’t usually post movie reviews here at the ‘Nother Brother Entertainment Blog, UNLESS it is an independent film worthy of distinction and A Good Day to Be Black & Sexy is such a film.

I never even heard about this film before a friend at work recommended it. Months later, a friend of mine on Facebook mentioned it was good, I thought I like films, I like black films, I like the combination of the two, maybe I should watch this and I’m glad I did.

As stated in the summary “the complex world of love, relationships and sexuality” is indeed explored in this film and done so WITHOUT gratuitous sex scenes, not that I’m against that. That is not to say that they sugar coat anything. This film has A LOT of sex and sexual matters. The opening of the film opens with a particular sexy, yet funny scene.

While the visual style takes some getting used to, you do as the film goes along and the acting is real and natural. The actors do a great job at being real given the sexual situations.

A good film that every adult should check out because it was indeed A Good Day to Be Black and Sexy ;-)

Commentary: I talked about distribution and marketing at length here on the blog and this film is a prime example. Had it not been for the good word of mouth I would never have heard of this film. As you might know, I read a lot about film before, during and after many films are in production and anything that I do see and I think is noteworthy I share on this blog and on social networks like Facebook and Twitter (You can join BOTH our page and feed to the top right, right below my smiling face :-) ~>

If you see a good black film PLEASE recommend it to your friends, every film can’t buy advertising on television or even radio. As evidenced by this review, good word of mouth is still relevant and in this era of the world wide web - pervasive.

Watch their trailer below

You can watch a wonderfully sensuous short film right here on this blog at the link below
Sensuous Short Film - If I Leap

See all of the good independent films I reviewed here on the blog at this link

Friday, October 14, 2011

Black Screenwriters Roundtable

Graphic courtesy of Shadow & Act
From the great site
Every now and then, we like to pull pertinent material from our archives to share with new readers of S&A. Today, we’re featuring a 2009 black television writers roundtable. Tambay [The site's Chief Editor & Writer] had a chance to speak with Courtney Lilly (The Cleveland Show, Everybody Hates Chris, Arrested Development, I’m Through with White Girls), Kriss Turner (Something New, The Bernie Mac Show), Kenya Barris (Are We There Yet?, Soul Food, Girlfriends, The Game) and Bashir Salahuddin (Late Night with Jimmy Fallon, Chocolate News) on their experience and outlook of the industry. Hear how they got started and worked through the maze known as Hollywood. If you haven’t heard this before, this is a MUST!
I listened and I wholeheartedly agree. You can listen to the podcast below and click their logo ABOVE^ to check out their site.  

CLICK the graphic below to see all of our blog posts about diversity

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Tyler Perry: Buffoonery or Opportunity? [VIDEO]

Found this clip courtesy of SWAN (Morgan State University Screenwriting and Animation) More information about SWAN at the bottom.

For the record, I generally enjoy all of Tyler Perry’s films. Perry’s movies ARE disarming in order to slide a message in there. People are more likely to watch a Madea flick than ‘Precious’, while an amazing film is horribly depressing, and yes “poverty porn”. I think we can have hamburger and prime rib as long as we know the difference between the two.

In the end, I think people can take things too seriously, it’s all make believe.

Also for the record, I studied screenwriting at Morgan State University's Writing for Television program (Now SWAN -Screenwriting and Animation) and it was an excellent program. Even though I wound up getting my degree (in film) from Towson University, I tell people all the time “Everything I learned about screenwriting, I learned at Morgan State!”

Click Morgan's logo below to read more about their Screenwriting and Animation program.

Related posts at our sista blog Cool Black Media

 Tyler Perry is Highest Paid Man in Hollywood

A message from Spike Lee himself: 
No Fued-Spike Lee & Tyler Perry

You can also CLICK the graphic below to see all of our blog posts about diversity

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Cinematography - Time Lapse [VIDEO]

A cinematographer is one photographing with a motion picture camera (the art and science of which is known as cinematography). The title is generally equivalent to director of photography (DP), used to designate a chief over the camera and lighting crews working on a film, responsible for achieving artistic and technical decisions related to the image.-Wikipedia
Basically a cinematographer is the person behind the actual camera and making sure everything is lit right (with electrical lights or through natural lighting using bounce cards (reflectors) Pictured below)

From cinematographer Dustin Farrell, below is some amazing time lapse photography.

A year's compilation of my time lapse work. All shot on the Canon 5D2 and processed in Adobe After Effects. The majority of the shots are in my beautiful home state of Arizona. Goblin Valley State Park and Natural Bridges National Monument in Utah also make an appearance. Most of the motion control for this video was done with the Stage Zero Dolly by Dynamic Perception. In addition to the Stage Zero, I also used a three axis motion controlled CamTram.-Dustin Farrell
Check out his work below.

Landscapes: Volume One from Dustin Farrell on Vimeo.

Landscapes: Volume Two from Dustin Farrell on Vimeo.

Read a blog post about Dustin Farrell "Dustin’s behind the scenes" here

Monday, October 10, 2011

Gunplay in Film

In the below video several people were arrested for staging a fake robbery for a music video. Thankfully no one was hurt, but the cast and crew was justifiably arrested. I say justifiably because it was a "misguided" idea in the first place and after the video I explain why.

Everybody wants to play “cops and robbers”. They think it’s cool and adds a heighten sense of danger and it does, when done properly. A lot of people want to go out and shoot an “action scene” without the necessary precautions. A real weapon, even unloaded, on a film set is NEVER wise. A real weapon is unsafe for a myriad of reasons, but one only need to look at the tragedy of Brandon Lee.

On March 31, 1993, while making The Crow, the crew filmed a scene in which his character walks into his apartment and discovers his fiancée being beaten and raped by thugs. Actor Michael Massee, who played one of the film's villains, was supposed to fire a revolver at Lee as he walked onto the scene.

Since the movie's second unit was running behind schedule, they decided to make dummy cartridges (cartridges that outwardly appear to be functional but contain no propellant or primers) from real cartridges by pulling out the bullets, dumping out the propellant and reinserting the bullets. However, the team neglected to remove the primers, which, if fired, could still produce just enough force to push the bullet out of the cartridge and into the barrel (a squib load). At some point prior to the fatal scene, the live primer in one of the improperly constructed dummy rounds was discharged by an unknown person while in the pistol, leaving the bullet stuck in the barrel.

This malfunction went unnoticed by the crew, and the same gun was later reloaded with blank cartridges and used in the scene in which Lee was shot. When the first blank cartridge was fired, the stuck bullet was propelled out of the barrel and struck Lee in the abdomen, lodging in his spine. He fell down instantly, and director Alex Proyas shouted "Cut!". When Lee did not get up, the cast and crew rushed to him and found that he was wounded. He was immediately rushed to the New Hanover Regional Medical Center in Wilmington by ambulance, but following a six-hour operation to remove the bullet, Lee was pronounced dead at 1:04 pm on March 31, 1993. He was 28 years old.- Info from Wikipedia

An Unsolved Mysteries segment expertly breaks down exactly how this mishap happened. WATCH on YouTube starting HERE

As an independent filmmaker I’m all for “getting the shot”, but it should always be safety first. A DP (Director of Photography) I was working with wanted to get a shot of the ground in a moving car hanging out of the window and I said “ABSOLUTELY NOT!”. His safety wasn’t worth a shot. If we couldn’t afford a car mount (Examples below) we weren’t going to get the shot.

Camera car mounts
In this era of heightened security, the independent filmmaker must also be aware of what could be seen as a possible security threat. At a Legal Rights for Filmmakers seminar I attended a story was told about filmmakers getting footage of water towers and being detained by police. Now you can only venture to guess what can happen if you are getting footage of government buildings, major bridges etc. They exclaimed DO NOT try to get that kind of footage without notifying the police.

I’m aware that sometimes as an independent filmmaker you must also try to get some footage “guerrilla style”, and don’t have money or time to get the proper notifications and permits, but sometimes you must be smart and err on the side of caution and safety.

Sarah Elizabeth Jones was a camera assistant on the film Midnight Rider when she was struck and killed by a train on set in rural Georgia February 20, 2014. The Hollywood Reporter did an extensive feature on the accident HERE

My Twitter friend Cinematographer Cybel Martin wrote a great related piece. Can Guerrilla Filmmaking Become an Addiction? My Thoughts on the Tragic Loss of Sarah Jones